Wednesday Weeper of the Week: “Don’t Answer Me” by The Alan Parsons ProjectPosted: May 20, 2015
There’s an episode of The Simpsons where Homer is telling the kids about various rock and roll bands from his younger days. When he gets to The Alan Parsons Project, he confuses the band for a hovercraft. It’s typically clever Simpsons banter, but the line also wasn’t entirely inaccurate. Started by Parsons, famed for his production and engineering work with The Beatles and Pink Floyd, and composer Eric Woolfson, the APP often seemed to be hovering above the rock scene, delivering synthesizer-fueled missives about robots and Edgar Allan Poe.
Yet every once in a while they would alight and deliver tuneful, catchy, and poignant singles apart from the song suites and studio wizardry. “Eye In The Sky” was the biggest of those. “Time”, which could certainly be a future Weeper candidate, was a beauty. I think my personal favorite though is “Don’t Answer Me”, which rolled into the Top 20 in the ultra-competitive pop landscape of 1984.
Like a lot of people, I feel in love with the video, a kind of comic-book noir that was groundbreaking then and still looks wonderful today. The video actually lends the song a happy ending, something that doesn’t quite come across without the visual. The retro clip does nicely dovetail with the sound of the record though, as Parsons copped a vintage Phil Spector vibe right down to the castanets.
Meanwhile Woolfson sings to a girl who’s pulling away from the world, living in dreams and magic instead of facing the reality of the situation or her true feelings. He gives up in the chorus, daring her to isolate herself at the expense of everything they had built. Nick and Sugar may drive off underneath a benevolent moon in the video, but the hero and heroine don’t complete the fairytale in the song because “clouds got in the way.” Damn clouds.
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